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Real Food Adventure - India
Transport - Metro, Private vehicle, Train, Shuttle Bus, Cycle rickshaw, Overnight sleeper train, Bus, Car, Plane
Accommodation - Hotel (10nts) Heritage Property (2nts) Overnight train (1nt)
Meals - 12 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 5 Dinners
We often have multiple itineraries so please check to see which itinerary is suitable for you, by selecting the relevant tab.
Namaste! Welcome to India.
Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6:00pm on Day 1.
You can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
After the welcome meeting you will head to dinner at Moti Mahal. This is a very famous restaurant in India; Gordon Ramsay claimed it had the best food in India but you can judge for yourself. The first Moti Mahal opened in Delhi in the 1920s and this family business now has other restaurants as far away as Mumbai. Be sure to try the butter chicken, it’s their most famous dish. There are no reservations, so you’ll need to go and wait, and while the décor may be very basic, the food is simply delicious!
- Delhi - Welcome dinner at Moti Mahal
This morning venture out to Old Delhi, the historic city also known as Shahjanabad. This is where some of Delhi's best-known local food joints are found.
You start off on foot, walking through narrow alleyways and enjoying an authentic street food-style breakfast. Keep your eye out for the local chaiwala (tea maker), who is well known not just for his delicious milky tea but also for the technique with which he makes the tea. Tea juggling will be new to most travellers – but not this man, who has been tea juggling for decades.
Along the way, also taste the typical northern Indian breakfast of the masses – poori bhaji. The deep-fried chapatis are called poori, and bhaji is a side dish made of potatoes or chickpeas.
Visit the Gali Paranthe Wali (lane of parathas), which has been in operation at Chadni Chowk since the 1870s. Parathas are one of the most popular unleavened flat breads in Punjabi North Indian cuisine, typically enjoyed for breakfast. You’ll have the opportunity to taste a number of variations – the parathas come stuffed with fillings including potatoes, cauliflower, radish and cottage cheese.
Later in the day, there is an opportunity to learn how to make parathas with a local family.
Explore the mighty Red Fort of Delhi. Part palace and part fort, it plays an integral part in the history of the city with former residents ranging from royal families to British soldiers.
Get an insight into the food traditions of Delhi’s Sikh residents over lunch at a local Sikh temple. While Hinduism is the dominant religion in Delhi, there is a significant Sikh population. Join some representatives from this temple for a cooking demonstration followed by lunch.
Then take a tour of Chandni Chowk, one of the oldest and busiest markets in Old Delhi. Visit the large spice warehouses in the back alleys of Khari Baoli, Asia's largest wholesale spice market. Here you will have a unique opportunity to view the whole process: from the loading, carrying and unloading of these huge sacks of produce, to watching the busy shop keepers dealing with customers purchasing large quantities of these items. Here you’ll meet a spice seller to hear him talk about how he mixes the spices for retailing.
Have a rest in the afternoon or take the metro to Haus Khaz Village in New Delhi. This is a taste of New Delhi’s funkier side. HKV is home to many of the capital’s cutting edge fashion designers, cafés, bars and restaurants. Spend the rest of the afternoon poking around cafés and artist studios. You may also want to stay and have dinner at one of the area’s hip restaurants.
Alternatively, why not visit a local family for a home-cooked meal. Your host will give a hands-on lesson on making alloo paratha and you will then sit down to enjoy all that has been prepared.
- Delhi - Old Delhi walking tour
- Delhi - Street Food Breakfast
- Delhi - Jama Masjid
- Delhi - Lunch at a Sikh Temple
- Delhi - Metro to Haus Kauz Village - INR16
- Delhi - Dinner with local family - INR1600
Take one of India's faster air-conditioned trains to the Mughal city of Agra (approx. 3 hours)
Famed for the awe-inspiring Taj Mahal, Agra is a city with a fascinating history and is rich in Mughal heritage, lush gardens and exquisite buildings and temples.
Visit the Taj Mahal - a masterpiece of shimmering white marble set amid beautiful formal gardens. Built by Emperor Shah Jahan as a memorial to his wife Mumtaz, this 'teardrop on the face of eternity' (as it was described by writer Rabindranath Tagore) lives up to all expectations.
Visit Agra Fort on the banks of the Yamuna River. Built in 1565 by Emperor Akbar, the fort was originally designed to be a military structure. It was converted to a palace in Emperor Shah Jahan's time and eventually became his prison after he lost power in 1658.
As the former capital of the Mughal empire, Agra still celebrates the culinary traditions and cooking techniques of Mughlai royal cuisine, with its Turkic and Persian influences. Late in the afternoon, you will head to the lawn of a nearby restaurant where the chef will give us a demonstration of some of the most prized royal dishes, followed by our own royal feast.
- Agra - Agra Fort
- Agra - Taj Mahal
If there is time and you wish to visit the Taj Mahal again for sunrise this morning, please let your leader know the day before so this can be organised for you.
Leave Agra in our private vehicle heading to Jaipur, stopping at Fatehpur Sikri along the way (approx. 7 hrs).
The magnificent deserted Mughal city of Fatehpur Sikri was built by Emperor Akbar in 1569, but was abandoned after 15 years due to the scarcity of water. A highlight of the settlement is Jama Masjid, a striking mosque featuring elements of both Persian and Hindu design. The main entrance of the mosque is the impressive 54-metre high Buland Darwaza, the Gate of Victory, constructed to commemorate Akbar's military victory in Gujarat.
For lunch we will visit a family run restaurant a short walk from Fatehphur. Serving traditional vegetarian Thali you get a chance to not only taste the local fair and but also have a chat to the owner and his family.
After lunch we continue on our journey to Jaipur.
The cuisine of Rajasthan is intrinsically linked with its desert landscape. Due to the scarcity of water, milk, buttermilk and curd are often used to add moisture and leafy greens are replaced with a focus on lentils, indigenous beans and other cereals. Dominant spices include turmeric, fenugreek, mustard seeds and coriander.
A friendly, busy town crammed with palaces and bazaars full of jewellery, textiles and folk-based arts, Jaipur is a firm favourite with travellers.
Make a photos stop at India's most photographed building after the Taj Mahal, the Hawa Mahal or 'Palace of the Winds'.
Discover the extravagance of a Bollywood blockbuster, with all the Hollywood-style elements of action, romance, drama and music (sometimes all rolled into one), at the spectacular Raj Mandir Cinema.
Don’t forget to check out the Indian take on movie snacks!
This evening is free for your own real food adventure. For something different, and a little more high end, you may wish to dine at one of Jaipur's finest hotels, the Rambagh Palace. Set in beautiful surrounds you have the choice of dining indoors or under a star-lit sky.
Travel out to the old capital of Amber and explore the hilltop fort complex known as the Amber Fort. Set in stunning surroundings on a hilltop overlooking Maota Lake, the fort is a superb example of Rajput architecture. One of its most spectacular buildings is the Sheesh Mahal (Hall of Mirrors). With its walls completely covered with tiny mirrors, the hall becomes a dazzling fantasy with the light of a single match.
For lunch we try a local favourite, Kachori. Kachori's are deep fried bread stuffed with vegetables and lentils and are one of the most sought after snacks in north India. If sweets are your thing, try the Mawa Kachori, a dried fruit and mawa (milk solids) stuffed kachori, deep fried and coated in sugar syrup.
In the late afternoon you will have a truly unique opportunity to learn the secrets of Rajasthani cuisine in a cooking class with an Indian celebrity chef, who will impart his wisdom on famous and traditional Rajasthani dishes in this special hands-on class at his personal residence. Sit down to enjoy the feast you have prepared for dinner.
- Fatehpur Sikri
- Jaipur - Bollywood movie at the Raj Mandir Cinema
- Jaipur - Amber Fort
- Jaipur - Cooking Demonstration & Dinner
Travel to Jodhpur (approx. 5-6 hours)
Along the way, we will pass through agricultural lands, getting an insight on the lives of the agrarian society of India.
India's enigmatic 'Blue City', Jodhpur, has a captivating Old Town with palaces, heritage buildings, colourful streets and the Mehrangarh Fort shining like a jewel high above the city.
Explore the colossal Mehrangarh Fort and take in the great views from its ramparts, which dominate the city's skyline.
Enjoy a guided tour of Sardar Market, which includes a tasting of the world-famous Makhaniya Lassi, a yoghurt drink spiced with cardamom and butter. This is often referred to as the best lassi in India.
- Jodhpur - Meherangarh Fort
Heritage Property (1 nt)
We head towards our heritage stay by private vehicle (approx 2 hours).
Over the next 24 hours you will be immersed in rural village life in the Aravalli Mountains. Meet local craftsmen and producers and discover what life is like for the people of Rajhasthan outside of the cities. Today you will also learn the Indian technique of eating with our hands – an art that takes some practice to master!
After your day out at the village, you will return to your stunning heritage stay, where the chef will demonstrate the techniques behind some of the most well-known desert dishes including Rajasthani desert beans (ker sangria), gatta curry, lamb curry called lal maas and bajre ki roti (millet flour flatbread). Dinner will be served in the Dining Hall where ceremonies of the royal family once took place.
Heritage Property (1 nt)
Today you continue to Udaipur (approx. 3.5 hours).
On the way, you stop at the village of Ranakpur, home to one of the country’s most impressive Jain temples. Jainism is a minority religion in India and is considered among the most rigorous spiritually motivated diets on the Indian subcontinent. Jain cuisine is strictly vegetarian, aligning with the Jain principal of non-violence, and even excludes the eating of root vegetables such as carrots, onion and garlic as it is believed that uprooting the plant kills it and the micro-organisms around the roots. Food must be prepared daily, as keeping cooked food overnight is forbidden.
Experience authentic Jain cuisine when you visit the common dining area at the temple, where Jain food is served to all the visitors.
On arrival in Udaipur, take a walk around town to help gather your bearings. Explore Udaipur's twisting alleys filled with silver, shoes, bags, leather goods and miniature paintings.
Tonight you have a free evening for dinner. With a strong influence of Jainism and Vaishnaism, the preferred food in Udaipur is vegetarian. Udaipur has numerous rooftop restaurants so climb some stairs, settle in and watch the sun set over a lake while dining on scrumptious local cuisine.
The next day you start at the local market to collect ingredients for today’s cooking class, where you learn how to prepare a traditional north Indian thali meal. A thali comprises of numerous dishes, which will vary regionally depending on where the thali is prepared. As you are in Udaipur, you will be making a vegetarian thali. Typical dishes include rice, dahl, vegetables, roti, papad (deep-fried flat bread), curd (yoghurt), small amounts of chutney or pickle, and a sweet dish to top it off. After all this cooking, you enjoy your handmade thali for lunch.
Visit City Palace, one of the largest royal palaces in India, and check out the unbelievable treasures within - from vivid murals to antiques and royal utensils.
- Udaipur - Thali cooking class and lunch
- Udaipur - City Palace guided tour
Hotel (2 nts)
Take a flight to Mumbai (approx 1.5 hrs).
Known as Bombay until its recent name change, Mumbai is India's commercial capital. Some would say that Mumbai is also the eating capital of India. This is the heart of Mangalorean cuisine, however you will find huge culinary diversity celebrating regional cuisines from across the country.
In the early evening wander down Marine Drive to Chowpatty Beach and enjoy the sunset and snack on bhel puri, followed by a street-food crawl.
For anyone who still has room, you will also stop past a popular kebab and roll stand serving roomali rotis. This bustling stand located behind the Taj Hotel, is a favourite among locals and open until the wee hours of the morning.
Hotel (1 nt)
After breakfast, we stop off at the remarkable Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat, an open air laundry (dhobi is the name given to the washers and ghat the name of a series of steps leading down to a river). At 140 years of age it is Mumbai's oldest laundry and with over a 1,000 troughs it is also the worlds largest open air, human-powered laundry. Another Mumbai landmark is the World Heritage Site and historic railway station, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (previously known as Victoria Terminus and now commonly abbreviated to CST). The building is a striking combination of gothic and traditional Mughal architecture. Designed and constructed in the 19th century, it took over 10 years to complete and is now ranked as India's busiest railway station.
For lunch, we seek out a restaurant known for serving Parsi cuisine. The Parsis are descendants of Zoroastrians who are believed to have immigrated to India from Persia in the 10th century. Today the Parsi community is largely concentrated in Mumbai.
Drop past Mumbai’s bustling Crawford Markets. South Indian food is very different to that of the north. While wheat is a northern mainstay ingredient, seen in the plethora of breads which accompany the meal, rice is paramount in the south. As you explore the markets you'll find out about the various varieties of rice available and their preferred uses.
For those in need of refreshment, you'll also drop into the Tea Centre at Churchgate – a great place to try out some of India's premium teas.
The rest of the afternoon is free for shopping, sightseeing and soaking up the atmosphere of this incredible metropolis. Don’t forget to grab some dinner before you depart.
Catch an overnight train to Goa (approx 13 hrs). Your sleeper train is clean and air-conditioned, a great way to travel long distances and still get maximum time in each place. Beds are padded berths with sheets, pillow and blanket provided but some people prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet. Please note you may be sharing with locals in a same gender/mixed gender situation. Most trains have a dining carriage where food/snacks/meals are available.
Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)
Famous for the sandy beaches that line its coast, Goa is a fascinating and distinctive region in India's southwest. Brimming with Portuguese influences and bursting with fresh food, this region has earned its idyllic badge.
Following your arrival, you visit a local fish and vegetable market and shop for the best catch. Here you will also be introduced to spices that are typical of this region. The most important of Goan spices, the chilli, was introduced to Goa by the Portuguese.
Goa is renowned for its seafood and variations of the fish curry, laced with coconut and served with rice, has become a regional classic. You return to your hotel for a hands-on lesson in the preparation of Goan fish curries, as well as other typical southern-style dishes.
The afternoon and evening are free to relax and explore.
Join your leader on a tour of Old Goa, and see the Portuguese influence in the churches and basilica lining the streets.
Visit a local spice farm. Goa's dense forested areas and favourable climatic conditions make it a perfect location to grow the spices liberally used in its cuisine. All the spice farms use organic methods of cultivation. Go on a guided tour of a plantation and enjoy a mouth-watering Goan buffet lunch. Lunch incudes a tasting of feni, a spirit made from either coconut or the juice of the cashew apple, which is made in the state of Goa.
The afternoon is free for final shopping, sightseeing and relaxing.Tonight, we choose a restaurant where we will share our final Indian meal together to celebrate the end of this Real Food Adventure.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
- Goa - Cooking class with dinner
- Goa - Spice Farm visit and lunch
Hotel (2 nts)
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